Human First Music Exploration

What does music exploration look like if all the people involved in the creation of a song are given equal credit? Making music is a collaborative effort. But most music players and recommenders only list the primary artist and maybe a featured artist. The supporting cast of song writers, engineers, and producers are completely left out.

The decision to only highlight primary artists assumes that the qualities which make songs similar or interesting to listeners stem from the primary artist. What if the qualities which make a song interesting come from the supporting cast – the sound engineers, the producers, or the writers?

I decided to build an interface on top of the genius.com API for exploring music through the lens of the people who create it. The goal is to create a new model for recommending music.

The interface starts with a song search. Users search for a song they’re interested in or a song that they like. Here I search for the song Humble by Kendrick Lamar.

Searching for a song.

On the song’s page users can see a list of all the people and companies which were involved in making the song. The people and companies are grouped by role.

Clicking on a person brings up the person’s catalog of music. Here I click to open Top Dawg’s music catalog.

Browsing an artist’s catalog of music.

Under each song in a person’s music catalog is the role the person played in that song. For example here I can see Top Dawg is on the management team, works as a video producer, and works as a writer.

the user interface for displaying roles
Top Dawg’s various roles.

The music links on each song can be clicked on to play the song on youtube, soundcloud, or spotify.

Feel free to check it out yourself and let me know if you like it or find a bug.